Students Staff

16 March 2009

Conference to honour physicists

Colchester Campus

Two long-standing members of staff at the University of Essex are to be honoured at a conference hosted to mark their retirement and contribution to the study of physics.

Professors Brian Ridley and Rodney Loudon, who combined have worked at the University for more than 80 years, are leaders in the field of semiconductor and optics research. Between them they have won some of the most prestigious international physics awards.

The conference, to be held at Wivenhoe House Hotel on 20 March, is expected to attract up to 60 current and former colleagues of Professors Ridley and Loudon as well as students working in the field. Topics for discussion include ‘Laser Physics: A 50 Year Odyssey,’ ‘Hot Electrons Fifty Years Ago,’ and ‘Holographic Ghost Imaging.’

The event is being organised by Professors Naci Balkan and Mike Adams. Professor Adams said: ‘Together, Brian and Rodney have made a tremendous contribution to the study of physics. Specialists in the field greatly value Brian’s theory on the transferred electron effect which is used in a range of applications including collision avoidance radar, vehicle ABS and burglar alarms; while Rodney’s paper ‘Squeezed Light’ has been cited 1,015 times according to the Web of Science.’

Professor Brian Ridley joined the University in 1964 and was awarded a professorship in 1986. He was one of three founding members of the University’s former Department of Physics and is best known for his research on electron transport in semiconductors. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 2001 received the Institute of Physics Paul Dirac Medal and Prize which is awarded for outstanding contributions to theoretical physics.

Professor Rodney Loudon has been a member of University staff since 1967 and has also held visiting professorial posts at Yale and École Polytechnique, Lausanne. He is best known for his research on quantum optics but his research interests also include spontaneous emission and noise in optical amplifiers and lasers, applications of quantum optics theory in information technology, and forces exerted on dielectrics by laser light. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society and has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Institute of Physics Thomas Young Medal and Prize (1987) and the Optical Society of America Max Born Award (1992).

The conference, entitled 50 Years of Semiconductor and Optics Research, is being supported by Rank Prize Funds and the Institute of Physics.


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